Yes, you can donate blood if you use cannabis. You cannot, however, donate blood if you’re currently under the influence of cannabis, and it’s recommended that you avoid using marijuana on the day you’re planning to donate blood.
The American Red Cross has made it clear that donating blood as a marijuana user is fine. In a brochure on the matter, the Red Cross states:
“While the Red Cross does not encourage the use of controlled substances, marijuana or alcohol use does not necessarily disqualify you from giving blood as long as you are feeling well.”
Three other American organizations that deal with blood donations told Leafly about their policies as they relate to marijuana use — all of them align with the Red Cross.
The American Red Cross and other blood donation recipients do not screen for THC, but based on policies enforced by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), blood donors must not be intoxicated or under the influence when donating blood.
Not being under the influence of marijuana while donating blood has less to do with the quality of blood, however. It is more about how a psychotropic compound may influence one’s ability to consent and accurately articulate medical history and other information which may disqualify one from being eligible to donate blood.
It can take as long as six to eight hours for the psychotropic effects of marijuana to subside, so ensuring that you don’t use cannabis on the day of your donation is important.
There are multiple other disqualifying factors that may prevent you from being eligible to donate blood besides cannabis, such as…
- Injection drugs not prescribed by your doctor
- Having HIV, or hepatitis B or C
- Feeling sick the day of or before your donation
- Being pregnant or having recently given birth
- Getting a blood transfusion in the past year
There are several other disqualifying factors that you can read more about here.
The bottom line is that as long as you’re well-rested, sober, and free of general disqualifications, you’re most likely eligible to donate blood as a cannabis user.
Blood transfusions save millions of lives per year. Patients suffering from life-threatening conditions and those undergoing surgeries rely on the generosity of blood donors. If you are interested in donating blood, learn more here for the US and here for the UK.